Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dog Bite Victim & the 109th Precinct

This is just unbelievable. I don't know why the city didn't launch an investigation into the lack of professionalism at the 109th Precinct. The following article was in the "Queens Tribune", November 4, 2006. I am shocked by the behavior of one of New York City's finest and the victim should file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board as soon as possible.

-Online Complaint Form-

"Resident Says Cops Hung Up On Her


Slam! A dial tone rang through HaeJae Lee’s ear.

The Flushing resident clicked the receiver and dialed again. This time, the officer on the other end of the line gave her a few more seconds to explain her story.

In a thick Korean accent, Lee told the officer a dog had attacked her near the corner of Bowne Street and Cherry Avenue. She told the officer it wasn’t the first time this intimidating Rottweiler had attacked, that other neighbors have experienced its unpredictable temper.

“They told me they couldn’t help me though,” Lee said last week. “They told me I would have to call while I was being attacked. That they couldn’t do anything for me unless the attack was in progress. Then the officer did something I would have never expected.”

Clutching the phone, The 109th Precinct officer, in his blue uniform and silver badge, let out a thunderous laugh and said, “If you were smart enough you’d stay away from that dog,” Lee claims.

On any other occasion Lee would have typically brushed it off and washed the officer’s laugh from her mind, she admitted. But after learning from a neighbor that just a week before Detective Ki Soo Kim, of the 109th Precinct had given a speech encouraging Asian Americans to report crimes, Lee could not brush off the phone call.

“They tell us to report crimes,” Said Lee, who emigrated from Korea in 1982. “They say we don’t do enough. They say we are scared. But this is why we are scared.”

According to published reports, Kim stated at an Oct.11 109th Precinct Community Council meeting, “a lot of crimes happen against Asians who don’t speak English… for cultural reasons they don’t want to interact with us. They’re afraid of us… if you want to be more active in the community, there should be omnipresence.”

In response to Kim’s speech, Precinct Community Council President Wanda Antosh agreed. “If you want to see a change, pick yourself up and do something about it,” she said at the very same meeting.

Kim was unable to be reached for comment on his previous statement, due to the fact that he is presently out of the country on vacation. Additionally, the 109th could not comment until they speak with Kim.

Antosh on the other hand, who is a Flushing resident, agreed with her initial statement at the meeting.

“Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and pursue help. 99 percent of the time people call and have been answered,” she said. “I honestly don’t think this woman was ignored. I don’t think the officers at the precinct would have treated her that way.”

Antosh added that where the real problem might lay is that Lee, like others, may have never followed up on the attack, resulting in a dead-end for officers.

According to Lee though, she had followed up with Kim numerous times, leaving two messages on his voicemail as of Oct. 20, which had yet to be returned.

“I would certainly recommend that [Lee] call the precinct back and try to resolve this matter,” Antosh said.

After being “betrayed” once by the precinct, Lee notes that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“I’m stunned by just how uncaring the 109th Precinct and Detective Ki Soo Kim are. They apparently do not practice what they preach,” said Lee. “This really needs to change.”

Below is the victim's letter to the Editor of the "Queens Tribune":

"To The Editor:

My name is Haejae Lee and I was attacked by a Rottweiler and this is the second attack happened to our family. Because 109th Precinct has done absolutely nothing to help me and my community, I reached out to publications, DA office, politicians, community leaders and concerned citizen of Flushing.

In Vol. 36 page 5 of Queens Tribune article "Resident Says Cops Hung Up On Her" written by Ellen Thompson, you stated "...Lee may have never followed up on the attack, resulting in a dead- end for officers I would certainly recommended that [Lee] call the precinct back and try to resolve this matter..."

I am just stunned. I placed total of 6 phone calls to 109th Precinct. On Oct 19, the officer at your precinct said "...I wasn't there. If you are smart enough, you should stay away from dog like that?" When I said to the officer, "are you blaming the victim?" he hung up on me. I called again at 9:05 a.m. on Oct 19 and again the officer refused to listen. I was told " really isn't our problem. You should contact ASPCA. You should contact one of those animal police you see on TV. You should call back while you are being attacked".

I did call 911 four times on Oct 19 as soon as I could free myself from vicious rottweiler while the owner watched me being attacked. I have witnesses and names of people who have the same or similar experiences with this person. I even found out where he lives. I put flyers around my neighborhood. I also called ASPCA, Department of Health, 311.

I am told by everyone that 109th Precinct should be the one to help, not them. They deal with animal cruelty, not dog attacks. I even had 3-way telephone conversation with 311 operator, myself, and 911 operator. All pointed toward the same direction, which is 109th Precinct. I don't know how you can say that I never followed up. 109th Precinct belittled me and my neighborhood.

On Oct 23 Officer Glennon called me because she received a call from the DA's Office. I gave her the details again, including the address of the dog owner. Then she asked me my nationality, my age, the year I came to the United States, and if I were US citizen. I don't know what my age, nationality, and citizen status have to do with dog attack. Since then I called her twice but she never called back.

I am disheartened by the attitude toward our community. You are blaming the victim. In this the victim is not just me but our entire community. Please don't wait until someone dies from this dog to do something about it. You can prevent it by listening to us and doing something about it. Please be proactive and help us.

Haejae Lee,

Original story: